Hani Zurob is a Palestinian artist in exile, unable to return to his home in Gaza since a trip he made to Paris in 2006. He remains in France today, creating works that explore movement and displacement -- concepts that remain close to the painter's heart.
A recently released book titled "Between Exits: Paintings by Hani Zurob" traces the path of the artist's career, covering his creative period in Palestine through to his development as an exiled artist in Europe. Organized chronologically, the volume offers a glimpse into the work of a contemporary Palestinian artist whose understanding of identity and collective belonging has changed throughout his cross-continental journey.
Flying Lesson no. 3, 2010, acrylic and pigments on canvas, 200x160 cm
Spanning two decades of work, the book moves from Zurob's abstract figures, reminiscent of the vivid colors of Paul Gauguin and the dreamy brushwork of Lucien Freud, to his series titled "Flying Lesson", comprised of images of his son in Paris. Incorporating both the spiritual and aspirational interpretations of flying, the latter collection of works is but one example of the artist's tendency to combine aspects of the Arab aesthetic with his own take on contemporary Palestinian culture.
Beyond the various images of Zurob's work, the book includes photographs of the artist himself as well as his studio, providing a rich profile of the displaced artist as a whole. The artwork is also accompanied by an essay from Jean Fisher, who comments on states of occupation and exile, and the writings of Kamal Boullata, who places Zurob's work in the greater context of collective identity.
Taken together, the pieces of "Between Exits" show how one man copes with the ever-changing realities of Palestine. Scroll through a selection of Zurob's work in the slideshow below and let us know what you think of the book in the comments section.
"Broken Exits: The Paintings of Hani Zurob" is available now through Black Dog Publishing.